Bob De Quatre

Future of AG - It's feedback time!

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@mccoyed, I completely agree with your points regarding the development of Aliens.  Though I really have not participated all that much here, I would like to come back for AG2 developing lore for my own Alien species I intend to establish, as should other players.  To me, it is more of a creative freedom but it also establishes them as believable entities within the game rather than just being spawned from nowhere with shaky agendas.  The outcome for AG1 should most definitely affect how AG2 will pick up on.  Mccoyed presents a really good idea with how the other two corporations disband into smaller factions alongside newly developed factions.  As much as I like the idea, there just does not seem to be enough people to support the variety of factions, like others have addressed before.  Of course, the other two factions could disband, or be destroyed by Octan, forming new factions entirely with new or similar agendas.  Just a thought, it would not seem very plausible that the losing corporations remain with the "oh, better luck next time" thought.

As for tags, I do agree that they should no longer be used.  I completely agree that it does take away from creative freedoms and story-telling... to an extent.  Since I really was not part of AG1 for most of the game, I really cannot give the best feedback on this topic.  I think that scoring should be judged on story-telling and building rather than just a small build fulfilling an action just to get a high score.  Furthermore, I think that the jobs category for players should be smaller.  For example, I do not think that "Driver" and "Pilot" should be their own jobs because, in a setting like AG, every player should possess such abilities.  Specific jobs like being a Pirate, Soldier, Scientist, or Engineer should be legitimate character jobs as they focus on a keen set of skills.  As characters progress, they should be able to choose set of skills to learn via a leveling system or a scoreboard of sorts.

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On 11/3/2016 at 9:34 AM, Bob De Quatre said:

Game mechanics:

  • To reduce the feeling that players have to build every week, we'll limit the numbers of builds on a given period (details are still to be discussed)

*golf clap* This will help a lot. Many weeks were a cram and I do prefer quality over quantity. I say this as one of the "lower quality" builders here.

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Any further update on when the new tech prices for 1.0 will be posted?

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20 hours ago, MKJoshA said:

Any further update on when the new tech prices for 1.0 will be posted?

Heh, was just coming in here to post this...

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Well we are still discussing this, but we have to take a decision asap. What we'll do isn't reducing the tech prices, but increase the amounts of resources awarded per build.

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Some great ideas and opinions. I think some of mccoyed's concerns could be addressed with a bigger points range for each build (so it can be worth taking two weeks to build a better entry) and taking DP-related tech off the tree (so I don't feel bad if my story is two people having a conversation). Not sure if every player being their own little faction wouldn't be too much for Bob's algorithms to handle though. But Imagine how the board could change if you switched your alliances and took all your earned DP with you!

To encourage bold play rather than 'trench warfare' (which I agree we should) Maybe making it easier to capture sectors cut off from their homeworld (like Marden currently is) would encourage more diverse strategies. Could be isolated worlds lose DP faster than others (in suggested rule) or require smaller advantage to take control. More ways of being able to build further from territory would help this too as there could then be several ways to achieve the same goal.

While every AG character may well be able to pilot spacecraft, I suspect Yseult would argue that they can't all do it to the same standard :wink: and that specifically being a pilot has value and is worth paying for, although she probably thinks that three extra credits aren't nearly enough :grin:.

Just a couple of thoughts following recent views. I'm sure I'll be here whatever happens. :classic:

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There won't be a 4th corporation in AG2. It would be too hard to implement. But the Aliens will get new play options, like a tech tree or control over planets.

 

Since planets will lose some DP each week if, it seems logical that isolated planets lose DP faster! And that's something that could be implemented easily (I just have to enter all planets links in the software...).

 

Jobs will stay in the game, as well as tags. Jobs will have more impact on the game, and so we need tags to know what you've built! but tags use will be revised so players don't feel obliged to have a spaceship, a land vehicle, a building and a sh*t-eating-toilet-monster in each of their builds! Well you could if you want, but you won't get bonuses for each of them.

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It's been a while since I was playing, but I'd like to chip in some ideas for the development of part 2.

I think the judging caused tons of tension. Some builds would appear over- or under-valued all the time, and the qualitative assessment couldn't help but be demoralising fairly often. That's just the nature of doing something creative and having a number attached to it. Is it based on objective greatness, or effort involved, or personal achievement? This isn't a criticism of the judges - I don't think it's possible to have the 1-7 score system without drama. And I especially don't think that scaling the rewards for high scores will make people happier.

I'd honestly like to see a simple classification that's easy to interpret, and is objective. Say, "minimum requirement: 2 images, 50 words, and 150 mostly connected bricks". (The 'mostly connected' is just to prevent game-ifying where people put a fig in a barrel with a 1x1 pile sea for an entry). That is the requirement to count as a build, and it gets a fixed reward. If you make a long story or a very interesting build, that's fantastic and other builders will respect you, but this does not translate into additional 'points' or anything in the game world. I feel like we're all capable of having pride in our builds, and most people won't phone it in - people who enjoy doing complex builds are still motivated to do so, but don't gain a specific game advantage over those who they're an abstract amount 'better' than.

If you want, there could be a single award given each week for a 'mark of recognition' which gets highlighted in a main thread. The judges have absolute discretion over this, and could choose to give it to something epic or something where the builder has stretched themselves a lot. I'd only suggest that it not be given to the same person too often - but again, judge's discretion. As long as there's not a material benefit to the award, this can incentivise hard work while only causing 5% of the drama that individual judged scores do. Alternatively, could also have seasonal or monthly awards in categories, e.g. "most improved".

I feel this digs into the goal of the game. Is it a game to participate in, and show off your cool builds? Or is it a game where better builders must get more points and 25% of people will be unhappy each week?

So, idea 1 is effectively no judging. The game part should be objective, while the rewards for working hard and becoming a better builder are not linked directly to the game economy.

Idea 2 is that 'categories/tags' are currently possible to break. I'd strongly suggest making a list of ~10 tags and saying that each build is classified as exactly one of these. No double-dipping bonuses. The 'game' aspect of AG should be pretty rigid and simple so that everything else can grow from there.

Idea 3 is that diversity is much more interesting than not. I felt a bit hamstrung when trying to be a 'driver', because actually I wanted to build spaceships and planets and vehicles and interiors and everything else I could think of. Specific goals are good to work towards; I'd suggest personal achievements or something similar that give a company bonus. For example, "Explorer: Build 1 landscape, 1 ground vehicle, and 1 sea vehicle in 3 consecutive entries. Reward: 300A". This is extensible; you could have all kinds of rewards such as collaborating with another builder through LDD or completing a 3 part story. Each achievement can be gained once per player, and a badge could be added to their image signature or something like that.

 

Edited by Commander Turtle

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I like some of the ideas @Commander Turtlesuggested. I am not sure that removing judged scores altogether is the best way to go, but I agree that sometimes the judging seemed wildly inconsistent and that there must be some way to address that.

I like #3 in particular, since it makes bonuses achievement-based and can help influence a story (certainly better than needing to include a land-vehicle every week for a bonus). However, it re-introduces the problem that #1 is trying to avoid: a builder could phone in those elements every week just to qualify for the achievement, and I can't think of a good way to get around that.

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4 hours ago, Commander Turtle said:

And I especially don't think that scaling the rewards for high scores will make people happier.

I respectfully disagree.

I think a larger range for scoring will make it easier for the judges to appropriately rank the builds by whatever criteria they are using.  For AG1, I felt that too many weekly builds fell into the 3-4 point range that were very different in quality because they were "too good for a 2" but "not good enough for a 5".  Why so many builds clustered here is likely due to the fact that many players were either constrained by the weekly deadline, or are simply at this level of LEGO building, such as myself (or both).

By having more granularity in the points range, I feel the judges can better reward the builds that are "better than a 4 but still not quite good enough for a 5".

I think (and now I'm putting words into Bob's mouth) that part of the point of AG is to get builders to challenge themselves and improve.  A larger range of points will allow builders to grow and develop more gradually and be rewarded, instead of having to jump the huge gulf that currently exists between 4 points and 5 points for builds for just one more point.  Essentially, it will flatten the curve.  Someone who normally builds at a 3 can more easily grow into a 4 and then into a 5 over the course of the game if the range was say, a 10 point scale, instead of the current 7.

Also, it will encourage the truly exceptional builders to stay, because a top build will score an 8 or a 9 and earn 4-5 more points for their team than a current 6 would earn over a 4.

I suppose one might argue that players who contribute lower point builds might be discouraged by the entries of 8-9 point builds, but I don't have a solution for that.

Edited by pombe

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I am probably as guilty of building to the bonuses as anyone, the flip side is that I also feel compelled to build to them to maximize benefit of my build. But that may just be individual guilt.

I don't love removing the score as it feels cheap that I may toss something together because I have only a small amount of time (last week due to SoNE deadline for instance) and someone else puts in 2 weeks to create a work of art. I know in the past there has been concern over the scores, but I would say overall I cannot ever remember it being more than a point which in the grand scheme ends up being meaningless. A 3 vs 4 is close enough you could make an argument. And I have the formulaic build as it seems to ruin creativity.

Generally AG is pretty ok as is, I think making some things simpler is good and maybe decreasing some of the elements where things feel forced. I'm excited for AG2 and hope it both brings back some of those who we haven't seen lately and also brings in new folks.

 

 

To reference pombe's concern over low point builds, I think that those getting 2-3 pt builds, like I was when I started, does still allow someone to contribute. And a consistent 2-3 pt builder can outpace someone who builds at 8-9 less frequently. I'm 3rd in total credits earned and I'm way far from being the best builder. But where shmails built once every 2-3 weeks I build every single week.

Edited by Kodan Black

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I've been meaning to reply here for a while, but real life kept getting in the way. I'm not a very wordy person so... I'll do a list.

  • Driver and Pilot as separate jobs. I think these should just be one Job, as it seem like the options were very limited for Drivers to get their bonus, especially with underwater and hovercraft vehicles being pilot domains as well. 

 

  • Make the fleet a tangible location. I'd like to see a system where building a new ship for the fleet raises some kind of strength of the fleet, which in turn effects some kind of fleet strength number. And if you do a fleet build it doesn't award resources but something else. Maybe there could be tech upgrades for the fleet as well. 

 

  • I'd like to see more exploration options. Maybe a wormhole which leads to a little pocket galaxy.

 

  • Maybe the corporations could become more like governments this time, as they've had their initial expansion and growth boom and now they have empires to manage and govern. And not every world currently held by a corp should stay governed by that corp. Perhaps the aliens are governing some planets, some are disputed territory, the asteroid belts are no man's lands, and the tech tree changes to include more things centered around managing the inhabitants of the planets.

 

  • Running with the corps as governments idea, more private companies are emerging, some alien, some not. And they have the benefits of being the pioneers in tech now, but they don't have the pull and resources of the government corps.

 

That's all for now.

 

 

 

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I would recommend giving a high weight to the opinions of players who have become inactive. By definition the active players are more or less fine with the current game. The former players wanted to participate but something made them give up. If we can reduce the pain points there would be higher participation.

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I brought up a discussion that made a few valid points about judging as well as using ldd as opposed to real bricks. Page 30 in the introduction and discussion. 

I think, as bad as it is....maybe a two tier point system that can help guide players and have two categories, there are builders here that have their sets at Lego conventions (which is awesome.) and someone like me who putters in my basement trying to become better. I get there are anchors for every team...if there was a way for all who submitted a build for a certain week could have input in the judging maybe that could help. Sorry, just thinking...

i wish I could submit a stop motion video and have that as a submital...

sorry.

jody.

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21 hours ago, pombe said:

Also, it will encourage the truly exceptional builders to stay, because a top build will score an 8 or a 9 and earn 4-5 more points for their team than a current 6 would earn over a 4.

I suppose one might argue that players who contribute lower point builds might be discouraged by the entries of 8-9 point builds, but I don't have a solution for that.

I think you might have a point for it being an improvement from now; but I think that's why it's out of 7 currently, and not out of 5!

You've got to imagine the time when you submit a masterpiece that you worked on all month, that's at the peak of your ability and using almost all your light bley, and you're feeling like you're sure for a 7 and hoping for an 8. And then the score comes back as a 6. It's just as disappointing as it would be if the gradient were lower, and so on.

I've thought about it before, and I strongly think that qualitative judging does more harm than good. The stories/building and the game should be tightly linked, but not in this way.

20 hours ago, Kodan Black said:

I don't love removing the score as it feels cheap that I may toss something together because I have only a small amount of time (last week due to SoNE deadline for instance) and someone else puts in 2 weeks to create a work of art.

I understand this concern, but I don't think it's significant. People are going to know the difference between the builders outputting jaw-dropping stuff and the people who were only able to cobble together something quick in an hour. Same as everywhere in Eurobricks, the pride from showing off something you did that's cool or complicated etc is its own reward. It doesn't need game-ifying! You're already aware that your build last week wasn't your best, you don't need in-game points to tell you that.

Besides this, I think rewarding people for submitting with regularity is really important. Sitting down and putting together some blocks for a few hours every week is how people get better at this stuff. A fixed, achievable binary goal every week is my suggestion for how to encourage this.

22 hours ago, rodiziorobs said:

I like #3 in particular, since it makes bonuses achievement-based and can help influence a story (certainly better than needing to include a land-vehicle every week for a bonus). However, it re-introduces the problem that #1 is trying to avoid: a builder could phone in those elements every week just to qualify for the achievement, and I can't think of a good way to get around that.

The achievements suggestions are intentionally binary (you know 100% when you are getting them) and game-able. I think having systems to game has always been a part of the fun, but I'm not too attached to the idea :classic:

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MKJoshA asked:

17 hours ago, MKJoshA said:

I have a question about AG 2.0. How will it effect storylines? If I have an on-going story that is still happening when AG 1.0 ends, will I be able to pick it back up when 2.0 starts? Or should I try to wrap things up story-wise?

And here is an earlier reply from me:

On 2016-11-03 at 11:47 PM, EpsilonEta said:

AG2 will folow after AG1 story wise so if you chose to continue the same character only your credits and items will be reset. (But anyone could also finnish up their stories and make a new character for AG2, even in another corporation)

There will probably be some form of time gap but you should be able to pick up your main story in AG2.

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One change I would suggest is that new weeks don't start until judging is done. One thing I've found frustrating is trying to keep up with where fleets are based on threads, then compare that to the overall map. Plus plotting out where other builders built and look at where we may need to build in response. We've also had some instances in the past of people building on planets that they suddenly couldn't build on because of DP that flipped control of planets.

I know judging takes time and I'm not trying to complain about that, but I think in terms of strategy and planning it is much harder when judging can run behind by days or even a full week. Hopefully this gets factored into the new version.

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While I am waiting for the conclusion to arrive, I have been working on concepts for different Alien species.  Each has their own ideology somewhat outlined along with lore and appearance.  Since I can have only one character, how could I establish a presence of these other beings without it feeling like they magically spawned?  To elaborate further, will I be able to build "side-builds" essentially establishing them into AG, shed light on their lore, and so on.

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@Goliath I have been tossing this idea as well, maybe we can work something out later on once AG2 is started and think of ways to introduce and keep new "aliens" moving forward in AG2 and not just show up for on or two builds...
Cheers

Jody:devil:

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@Jody Meyer, that would be great!  I think when AG2 officially arrives and the Aliens get their own page, known Aliens should be added with a brief summary on them.  Unless there is an AG wiki page where they could be added similar to Heroica.  This would also be beneficial for players looking to play for the Aliens and have some options for races to choose from. :classic:

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